Baby, I have no idea how this will end.~ Andrea Gibson (via levityoflonging)
Maybe the equator will fall like a hula hoop on the Earth’s hips
and our lips will freeze mid-kiss on our 80th anniversary,
or maybe tomorrow, my absolute insanity combined with
the absolute obstacle course of your communication skills
will leave us like a love letter in a landfill—but whatever, however,
whenever this ends, I want you to know that right now,
I love you forever.
In the West, plot is commonly thought to revolve around conflict: a confrontation between two or more elements, in which one ultimately dominates the other. The standard three- and five-act plot structures—which permeate Western media—have conflict written into their very foundations. A “problem” appears near the end of the first act; and, in the second act, the conflict generated by this problem takes center stage. Conflict is used to create reader involvement even by many post-modern writers, whose work otherwise defies traditional structure.
The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general—arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.
I was just thinking about Japanese plot structure today. Couldn’t remember the name of it for the life of me. I’ve used it in short story I rather like. Doubt I’ll sell it this side of the ocean, but I’m fond of it.
I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life.~ Why I Write, George Orwell (via songofiaras)
For some years he was quite happy and did not worry much about the future. But half unknown to himself the regret that he had not gone with Bilbo was steadily growing.~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (via glorfinn)
He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. He began to say to himself : “Perhaps I shall cross the River myself one day.” To which the other half of his mind always replied : “Not yet.
Here you go, guys. My first published story of 2013, about a disabled Necromage trying to overcome his PTSD. Please, clicky the link. Share the link. Get your friends to share the link. Support Kaleidotrope. It’s free. It’s awesome. Fred Coppersmith pays the authors out of his own pocket. Help the guy out and clicky the link.
Here, a man seated at a table in the corner. Three heavy glasses — ale nesting the bottoms. His leg jogs away without him and the uneven table rocks. The light behind his unseeing eyes throbs, swelling out his corners in time to the heartbeat of the sky.
His name is Doe now. His name is Guy and Buddy and Mister. His name is Hey-You and totally, forgivably unimportant.
The small ocean in his glass crashes in his ears. He drinks to stop the salt from drying on his tongue, caking closed his lips. Some great tragedy waits behind him on a distant shore.
He’s been lost a long time before this moment.
[Parents should] recommend some books with female leads that your son would enjoy reading. If your next question is “Why?,” then ask your daughter why she liked Harry Potter. She might say it was a good story, great characters, and a fantastic world. Who cares if the main character was a boy? In fact, girls will pick up a book with a hero or heroine equally. According to my excellent librarian resources, boys will actively avoid books with a girl as the main character. What’s the problem? I have no idea. Why should you encourage your son to read books with heroines? That’s easy. You want your son to grow up knowing that a strong female for a friend, wife or boss is normal and good.~ Rebecca Angel (via lesilencieux)
Note: this post was originally made in 2010 in response to Diana Gabaldon’s epic rant about fanfiction. The original version is still being updated. I’m reposting it to Tumblr by request, but if you have any additions, please feel free to drop a comment at LJ so they can be added to the masterpost!
Dear Author of the Week,
You think fanfic is a personal affront to the many hours you’ve spent carefully crafting your characters. You think fanfic is “immoral and illegal.” You think fanfiction is just plagiarism. You think fanfiction is cheating. You think fanfic is for people who are too stupid/lazy/unimaginative to write stories of their own. You think there are exceptions for people who write published derivative works as part of a brand or franchise, because they’re clearly only doing it because they have to. You’re personally traumatized by the idea that someone else could look at your characters and decide that you did it wrong and they need to fix it/add original characters to your universe/send your characters to the moon/Japan/their hometown. You think all fanfic is basically porn. You’re revolted by the very idea that fic writers think what they do is legitimate.
We get it.
Congratulations! You’ve just summarily dismissed as criminal, immoral, and unimaginative each of the following Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and works:
But the point, the point, is that whenever I hear someone talking about how it’s wrong to have sex and sexiness in YA novels, what I actually hear is this:
I’m terrified that the first fictional sex a teenage girl encounters might leave her feeling good about herself. I’m terrified that fictional sex might actually make teenage girls think sex can be fun and good, that reading about girls who say no and boys who listen when they say it might give them the confidence to say no, too – or worse still, to realise that boys who don’t listen to ‘no’ aren’t worth it. I’m terrified that YA novels might teach teenage girls the distinction between assault and consensual sex, and give them the courage to speak out about the former while actively seeking the latter. I’m terrified that teenage girls might think seriously about the circumstances under which they might say yes to sex; that they might think about contraception before they need it, and touch themselves in bed at night while fantasising about generous, interesting, beautiful lovers who treat them with consideration and respect. I’m terrified of a generation of teenage girls who aren’t shy or squeamish about asking for cunnilingus when they want it, or about loving more than one person at once, and who don’t feel shame about their arousal. I’m terrified that teenage girls might take control of their sexuality and, in so doing, take that control of them and their bodies away from me.
Yes this. I remember reading books like Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series and experiencing Alanna’s unapologetic interest in multiple men and how she spent the night in the rooms of those men when and if she wanted I think really had a positive impact on my view of sexuality and relationships. So yes, this. So much this.
Forever thankful for Meg Cabot’s portrayal of teen sexuality in All American Girl and The Princess Dairies.
when I was younger and read the second “all american girl” book (referenced above), at the time I thought it was weird and that she was doing a no-no becuase it was completely out of line with all my expectations of the YA novels I was reading. But then after thinking about it, I realized how weird it really was that I had read an extensive, extensive amount of YA novels where it was considered not only normal, but basically cumpulsatory, for the lead women to never take a relationship further than kissing. In fact, that was often part of the novel’s conclusion: a kiss. It was definitely not reflective, as a genre, of the diversity of teenage experiences. In recent years I’ve found a lot more examples in current YA novels (many of the ones I read as a teen, after all, were from the 80/90s even if I read them at a later time), which gives me hope for the genre and its (hopefully) commitment to capturing the authenticity of teenage lives.